Councils have cried foul over ‘unwarranted accusations’ of theft and perceived political interference in some projects under Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and District Development Fund (DDF).
In his presentation on financial management issues in councils at a workshop in Salima at the weekend, Ministry of Local Government director of Local Government Services Richard Hara also lamented growing non-funded mandates on the part of councils, citing installations of chiefs, and funerals for chiefs which he said put pressure on councils and need clear budgeting or review.
Commenting on his experiences, Hara, a former district commissioner (DC) himself, said currently, there is low knowledge on public finance management (PFM) among DCs, council chief executive officers, councillors, sector heads and other staff, adding that in some instances, there is deliberate departures from protocols of the government’s electronic payment platform, the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis).
He reminded controlling officers of the need to maintain a sound accounting system if public resources are to be used prudently.
He said: “It is important to ensure that all is accounted for properly. The collection methods [of revenue] should follow government laid procedures to avoid wrong discretion.”
During the meeting, some council representatives complained about delays by central government to provide councils with other recurrent expenditure (ORT) as well as monthly general funding.
In an interview, Ministry of Finance director of public finance management systems Monaosyile Mhango also noted that in most cases, delays to release resources to various councils and also ministries departments and agencies (MDAs) is due to late submissions of reports.
The meeting was jointly organised by the Economics Association of Malawi, Oxfam under the three-year project called Enhanced Evidence-based research to inform policy decision making in PFM.